Star Anise belongs to the family of Illiciaceae, dicotyledonous angiosperm species. It is a tropical evergreen tree, tall between 5-10 m.
The fruit is a spice that smells a bit like licorice. The tree is native to southern China and northern Vietnam where its fruit is used heavily in the regional cuisine. The spice was first introduced to Europe in the 17th century and used whole, powdered, or extracted into oil.
The fruit is star-shaped (from which its name derives), green when under-ripe, and brown and woody when ripe. It is composed of 6 to 8 carpels, each of which contains a seed. Fruits are harvested when still green and dried in the sun.
Its dried fruits are used in many international cuisines and in indian cuisine.